i think this is because the American military is such a public part of the American identity. It is present in most parts of the world, and they want to show that they too are eco-friendly and capable of setting a good example for the rest of the world. Also, the U.S. military is one of the top consumers of energy and fuel, so in America’s attempt to clean up our at, the military is inevitably going to have to make some changes is we want to see our emissions decrease.
I don’t think the military is any more or less committed than any other section of the country, but I do agree with Cafils44 that the military is going to have to make a changeover to alternative energy sources at least in the long term if not the shorter term. One thing to keep in mind is that the US military and Department of Defense, as powerful as it is, does not make decisions on fuels in a vacuum. The US is a member of NATO, which has adopted a “single fuel policy” (that single fuel being diesel), meaning that military vehicles and support vehicles must run on diesel fuel. The reason for this is to simplify logistics in the field. If you’ve got multiple NATO countries sending forces to a particular region for an operation–Afghanistan, for instance–you can’t have each country needing its own type of fuel, because the support operations become nightmarish from a logistical standpoint. Nevertheless the military is experimenting with alternative fuels and even hybrid vehicles to cut down the amount of diesel that it has to use, and I think the Department of Defense, as Cafils said one of the largest consumers of energy, will ultimately seek to cut its overhead by trying to make its fleet of planes, ships and land vehicles cheaper to run from a standpoint of fuel costs. That makes economic as well as military sense.
The military forces are investing in such technologies because they need them. The amount of energy the military and army uses is huge. Military never saw fuel economy or energy efficiency a problem because governments around the world would support their military no matter what. The growing need of energy and the lack of oil remaining now make the alternatives an economically sound investment. I am pretty sure that if climate change wasn’t such an urgent problem, the last sector to switch to renewable energy would be the military because their infrastructure is so oil dependent, which can not be quickly changed.
I believe that this is due to simple logistics more than a political statement. The military, much like anyone else, has a budget to keep; they are not allowed to really siphon money away from other things in the government. Since gas prices have risen so high, it makes fueling all the vehicles in the military arsenal a pain and detracts from missions that these vehicles are needed on. Higher gas prices also takes its toll on supply routes, as tankers are certainly targets for a smart enemy. Searching for an alternative to gasoline may yield some relief for the logistics for the military. Also since the military budget has been severely cut down in the last few years, it becomes an ever-growing problem with cost and supply to front lines.
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